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Riverside County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder logo

Change of Ownership Reappraisals

If you transfer the ownership of your property, the Assessor receives a copy of the deed and determines if a reassessment for property tax purposes is required. If it is, a new market value is determined.

The Assessor's office reviews all recorded deeds within the county to determine which properties require reassessment under the law. The Assessor may also discover changes in ownership through other means such as taxpayer self-reporting, field inspections, or review of building permits. When it is determined that a change in ownership has occurred, Prop 13 requires the reassessment of the property to its current fair market value as of the date ownership changed.

Does death result in a change of ownership?

Yes, if the deceased owns the property. Upon discovery of death, whether it will be recorded or via correspondence, the Assessor’s office will review for reassessment. The date of the property owner’s death is the date of transfer.

Some transfers may be excluded from reassessment, for the following reasons:

  • Inter-Spousal – if the transfer of property is between husband and wife, there is usually no reassessment. This includes transfers resulting from divorce or death.
  • Domestic Partners – Transfers between Registered Domestic Partners may also be excluded from reassessment.
  • Parent-Child Exclusions – the transfer of the principal place of residence between parents and children (and the first $1 million of all real property other than a principal residence if transferred before 02/16/2021) may be excluded from reassessment if an application for exclusion is filed timely.  Transfers between grandparents and grandchildren may also be excluded from reassessment when both parents of the grandchild are deceased. (R&T 63.1)

However, a son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the grandparent that is a stepparent to the grandchild need not be deceased. To prevent a supplemental tax bill from being issued, a claim must be filed as soon as possible after the transfer or date of death.

What happens if the deceased qualified for a Veteran’s Property Tax Exemption?

The unmarried surviving spouse of the qualified veteran may be able to continue to benefit from the exemption.

The disabled veterans’ property tax exemption may also be available to the unmarried surviving spouse of a person who, as a result of service-connected injury or disease, died while on active duty in the military service and served either in time of war or in time of peace in a campaign or expedition for which a medal has been issued by Congress.

What is a death certificate and why might one be needed?

A death certificate is the recorded legal proof of death. Some reasons a copy of a death certificate may be needed include:

  • Proof that the decedent should be removed as the owner or partial owner of property
  • Notify Social Security and obtain other services related to an individual’s identity
  • Social Security death benefits for survival spouse or children
  • Claim insurance proceeds
  • Notify creditors
  • View the determination of a cause of death
  • Genealogy purposes
Who may obtain a death certificate?

Only authorized people may obtain an official death certificate. Authorized people include:

  • Parents or legal guardians
  • Children
  • Grandparent or grandchild
  • Spouse or domestic partner
  • Member or representative of a government agency, as provided by law, who is conducting official business
  • A person who has a court order
  • A representing attorney
  • A funeral director that orders copies on behalf of another authorized individual

Anybody not included in the list above, may only receive an “informational” copy.

What is a Rescission?

IMPORTANT: If you have recorded an instrument that results in unintended property tax consequences, the Assessor’s Office strongly recommends that you seek advice from a real estate attorney or title company.

A property’s prior ownership and prior base year value may be restored by mutual rescission or court order.

Mutual Rescission

The parties to the original transfer may execute and record a rescission of deed. The document must reference the transfer being reversed and be signed by all parties on the original deed.

Court Order

A court order resulting from a lawsuit or petition in court that rescinds a transfer. The property owner will receive relief as prescribed by the court order in the event of a court-ordered rescission.

Restoration of Tax Base Year

The restoration of the property tax base year value is applied prospectively beginning in the next tax year. All existing tax bills resulting from the original transfer/reassessment remain valid. No refunds or cancellations will be made.

Civil Code Section 1698(a)

Property Tax Annotation 220.0595